U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Launches Initiative against Dangerous Over-the-counter Nutritional Supplements Containing Drugs

Public Education and Advocacy Campaign “Supplement Safety Now” Targets Rogue Supplement Manufacturers
Who Exploit the System and Endanger Lives of Americans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – December 2, 2009 - The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), in partnership with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League, the U.S. Olympic Committee and other national sports and health organizations, today launched an effort to end the dangerous and unscrupulous practices of “rogue” manufacturers within the nutritional supplement industry. This new effort, called “Supplement Safety Now,” will work to eliminate the practice of selling dangerous products containing steroids and other drugs as “safe and legal” dietary supplements.

“Most Americans are unaware that dangerous drugs are intentionally being sold as dietary supplements in retail and Internet stores across America, and that current laws allow for these products to get into the hands of our children too easily,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.

“Supplement Safety Now” (www.SupplementSafetyNow.com) is urging Congress to establish a regulatory framework that ensures that all supplements sold over-the-counter, in retail stores and online, are safe and free of dangerous steroids and other drugs. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs explored this issue in a hearing on September 29, 2009, at which USADA provided testimony.

“With mainstream America now spending billions of dollars each year on over-the-counter products claiming to aid wellness and fitness, this is a public health concern, no longer restricted to the realm of elite level athletes wanting to escape detection,” Tygart continued. “What’s most alarming about this frightening trend is that the average consumer of today is likely taking these products under the misconception that they are improving their health, when in fact they may be putting themselves in serious jeopardy.”

The consumption of these dangerous hidden drugs, such as designer steroids, has been a known cause of liver injury, stroke, kidney failure and pulmonary embolism.

USADA’s “Supplement Safety Now” initiative will include media outreach and grassroots mobilization. Supporters are encouraged to go to www.SupplementSafetyNow.com to take action on the issue.

Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL), along with a host of national governing bodies for sport and other organizations, have already signed up to support this effort.

“These unscrupulous supplement manufacturers intentionally exploit loopholes in the federal regulations by selling products containing drugs and marketing them as ‘safe’ and ‘legal.’ Congress needs to act now to close these loopholes,” said Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Executive Vice President for Labor Relations, MLB.

“The NFL enthusiastically supports this initiative for Congressional action to address this insidious and very serious threat to the health of the American public,” said Adolpho A. Birch III, Vice President of Law & Labor Policy, NFL.

To date, joining the MLB, NFL, the USOC, NBA and NHL in their support for Supplement Safety Now are: American College of Sports Medicine, American Swimming Coaches Association, The National Center for Drug Free Sport, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the PGA Tour, US Lacrosse, US Tennis Association, USA Cycling, USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, USA Track and Field, USA Triathlon.

USADA is the non-profit, independent and non-governmental entity responsible for the testing and results management process in the U.S. for athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, upholding the Olympic ideal of fair play, and representing the interests of athletes. USADA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs. The agency manages a drug reference phone hotline and Global Drug Reference Online, conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as curriculums, themed brochures and nutrition and dietary guides, easy-reference wallet cards for the prohibited substance list, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference publications, all of which can be found at www.USADA.org.

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